Patriots deny Kraft-Belichick-Brady rift

File- This Dec. 24, 2017, file photo shows New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, center, speaking to quarterback Tom Brady, left, during a timeout in the first half of an NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass. Belichick has long said he feels he isn’t able to ascertain the identity of his team until after the Thanksgiving holiday. After stumbling out of the gate to begin the season, his team has been among the NFL’s most resilient groups in the second half. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

FOXBOROOUGH, Mass. (AP) The New England Patriots say a report suggesting a rift involving owner Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady is “flat-out inaccurate.”

The three released a joint statement Friday hours after an ESPN report, citing undisclosed sources, detailed an array of tension.

The story highlighted purported disputes concerning Brady’s personal body coach, Alex Guerrero, in player-medical affairs. Also mentioned is a supposed difference between Kraft and Belichick over the decision to trade backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The story implied Brady has taken issue with a lack of praise from Belichick this season.

The statement says the three have had a “very good and productive working relationship” for 18 years and they regret having to “respond to these fallacies.”

The Patriots are again the AFC’s top seed in the playoffs and have a first-round bye this weekend.

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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